SERENA // PLACEMAKER
Theatre Producer & Illustrator, Camberwell
With a lovely Newcastle accent and an incredibly positive attitude, Serena is our Camberwell care home Placemaker. Coming from a working-class background up North, pursuing the arts as a career was generally seen by her community as merely a dream. Growing up, Serena didn’t have the same access to performances or creative opportunities as many Londoners, which made her all the more determined to create these opportunities both for herself and others like her. When Serena was young, she won a prize and had the opportunity to do a series of workshops in London. She was lucky enough to have great support over this time and developed a relationship with a mentor who really gave her the lead on where to put all of that creative and determined energy.
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Serena came to London for drama school and stayed for work. Her work crosses all creative boundaries, from her projects with Frisky Arts theatre group, to her work as a commissioned illustrator, to her involvement in community arts and outreach. Serena says that a political thread runs through all of her work and this drives her determination to bring the North into the fold through outreach back in Newcastle, and through creating space for creatives from the North in London. A common theme throughout our Ambassadors is not only do they love to work, but they can’t help but strive to do more. In Serena’s spare time you can find her painting, cycling or reading up on her astrology and Greek mythology. Apparently, she also gets a kick out of organising events, so we’ll be sure to hold her to that.
For such a go-getter, lockdown hit Serena hard. She is a very social person who went from working 7 days a week, to having a clear calendar. Life has completely slowed down which, although initially a shock to the system, has given her a moment to prioritise her well-being and give time to the people around her. The Camberwell care home was a shining example of coming together in the face of hardship. This 55-bed care home felt more like a slightly oversized sharehome of old friends, as the lockdown meant people had the time to really get to know each other. The property held outdoor gigs, fashion shows and art galleries – and you can guess who was at the heart of the operations.
Being a guardian has facilitated this hectic and vibrant lifestyle. Not only does the financial relief allow for more volunteer opportunities, it also gives her a ready-made group of like minded people with a multitude of skills to collaborate with and expand her experience. Ever one to make her mark, living in a guardianship also gives Serena licence to make the space her own which can be tricky in a traditional tenancy.
Serena is looking forward to cultivating the cross-property LOWE network and facilitating artistic collaborations. She is particularly interested in the latent potential of the unique guardianships for creative output.